Investment – an ugly words game

It struck me this weekend why perhaps the words ‘investment’ or ‘finance’ or ‘stocks and shares’ send such a shudder down many people  and make them go running for the hills.
I spent much of the weekend testing someone who was taking an investment-related exam today. And, as someone who writes a blog for fun, and reads as much as possible, I honestly struggled to get through a lot of the questions. They were full of such ugly words, all jumbled together, that they barely seemed to make any sense.
Why is it that investment related language all seems to be so repelling? Are we supposed to be frightened off at the beginning? Is this some kind of a test? Only the resilient get through and then have a shot at making any of the real money?
Humans are very visual beings. Actually, it’s not even just about being visual in this instance. We can also hear things. So why on earth do the people who come up with all these investment terms continue to invent such horribly ugly phrases?
Just look at this select group of unpleasantries: backwardation, contango, debenture, basis swap, arbitrage, credit default, REIT. I could go on for a lot longer but quite frankly, I don’t want to mar my blog with any more of it.
Not one of those word gives me any inclination to continue reading. I almost want to avert my eyes away from the page.
I’m not saying it should be more basic. It should just at least attempt to be more beautiful. It’s no coincidence that it is the beautiful words in life that are used the most and are the most admired. Language that is beautiful is a pleasure to read. It makes the eye want to continue travelling across the page. It makes the reader imagine the sound of the word. And above all, it makes the reader sigh with delight rather than recoil in distress.
I really wish investment-related language could be snazzed up a bit, maybe that would make it slightly more alluring and it would stop putting people off before they’d given calls and puts and yields a proper chance. Instead, you’re so turned off by the words themselves that you’re certainly not even going to try and find out what on earth they could possibly mean.

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